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Calvin-Wire: February 15, 2011

Larry Herzberg, Exemplary Teacher

larry h

Larry Herzberg, the father of Asian language studies at Calvin, won the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching at the Faculty Awards Dinner last week Thursday.  This excellent, enthusiastic and somewhat eccentric teacher uses props (a Barbie car, a dollhouse, plastic vegetables) and mnemonic devices to de-mystify the Chinese language, and alternates wearing a kimono and a Chinese silk robeto class every day. He knows eight languages, counting English, and his definition of Christianity is love.  Read more about him and why he received the most prestigious teaching award at Calvin.

Larry Herzberg and his wife, Qin, also a professor in the Asian studies program, created a documentary to get Americans up to speed with China's recent modernizations. Read about it, and watch a clip from the video here.

Four other faculty members were honored at the dinner last Thursday. Find out more about the awards that Professors Konyndyk, Nielsen, Fondse and Sandberg received.

Worship resources

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship

Read a new column from Dale Cooper on worship and Easter. Writes Cooper, "Jesus is risen! We are risen with him! Given these twin truths, never ought we to see our lives as arbitrary. At the heart of the universe there stands a triumphant Savior, whose heart beats with love for us, his sisters and brothers for whom He died and rose again."

Also from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, a new book, Resonant Witness: Conversations Between Music and Theology, shows that the majesty and power of music and theology are amplified when they learn from and inform each other. Read more about musical theology in a recent story from the Worship Institute.

There are other recently added resources on the Worship site, including the article on, "How Communion Trains Us in God’s Hospitality" and a video from the recent Calvin Symposium on Worship. Also, "Restorative Justice: Prison congregations multiply grace."

New (-er) to Calvinism?

Eric Washington

Calvin professor of philosophy and Worship Institute research fellow James K.A. Smith has written a "less grumpy," more "winsome" portrait of Calvinism.  Christians that are new to Calvin, or are rusty on the concepts, might find this book interesting. (Another book by Prof. Smith, "Desiring the Kingdom," was awarded a "Christianity Today" 2010 Book Award.) There are also some general Calvin College terms that might be unfamiliar.  Will this Calvin lingo guide help?

One News & Events story about Black History Month features Professor  Washington who has made a specialty of studying African American thought within the Reformed tradition of Christianity, specifically Calvinism. His interest in the topic dates back to 1998 when he embraced Reformed theology after reading Martin Luther's, "On the Bondage of the Will," and R.C. Sproul's book, "Chosen by God."  Read more.

Students in the news


Fitah Rasendrahasina played a starring role in Opera Grand Rapids’ production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut.” The Calvin College junior portrayed Edmondo, a young student who is a friend to the story’s hero, Des Grieux. Opera Grand Rapids artistic director Robert Lyall said that it’s uncommon for a college student to play a titled role in a professional production.  But Rasendrahasina has an uncommon voice. Read more»

Two Calvin senior engineering students earned prestigious fellowships from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are among 30 undergraduate students nationwide to earn such prestigious research fellowships. Amanda Hayes and Rhiana Cok, both with civil and environmental concentrations, are in the second year of their two-year undergraduate fellowships from the EPA’s Greater Research Opportunities program.

Q&A on Egypt

Two Calvin staffers raised in Egypt reflect on the current political situation in that country.

On January 25, the day traditionally celebrated as National Police Day in Egypt, demonstrations, rallies, protests, marches, acts of civil disobedience, riots, labor strikes and other forms of protest broke out in Cairo, Alexandria and other large cities. The uprising escalated in the ensuing weeks until as many as a million citizens were estimated to be involved. Then on February 11, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president of 28 years, stepped down.

Calvin annual fund director Souzan Karadsheh and economics professor Adel Abadeer are both natives of Egypt, and both have family living there. They offered their reflections on what is being called the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

News, stories and videos

Sem Pond jumpers

Photos from the Cold Knight Club jump into the Sem Pond last weekend are posted on the Calvin College Facebook page.  Also see the local news story and video that accompanied this event.  Find out more information on the Calvin College Alumni Association Facebook about the make-up jump scheduled in case you still want to join in the jump!

When the film crew showed up at the Mustard Seed School last January, it was a little disruptive, admitted the school’s director, 1989 Calvin alum Christine Metzger: “It felt like there were cameras everywhere, like it was a reality TV show,” she said, “and then they became part of the family.” The crew that spent the three-week interim documenting the life of the Christian school was composed of Calvin media production professor Brian Fuller and three Calvin students. Their documentary is: A Shared Space: Learning from the Mustard Seed School.

And Regathering 2011, second semester convocation, is archived online now.


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